Hearing aids help you improve your hearing and speech comprehension. They have a microphone to pick up sound, an amplifier to make it louder, and a speaker to deliver the sound to your ear.
Among the many hearing assist devices in the market, you will encounter BTE hearing aids that constitute an ear mold. This piece delivers sound to your ear and often stays there. With time, it gets dirty and could impair your hearing further. That is why it is essential you learn a thing or two on how to clean a hearing aid earmold with this smart guide.
But before we proceed, let’s understand what we need to clean first.
What is Earmold, and Why Do You Need to Clean It?
When wearing a behind-the-ear hearing aid, you get to use an earmold, whose design affects your comfort and the quality of sound you get.
The best hearing aids have comfortable earmold designs, which serve to conduct sound from the hearing assist device to your ear. The earmold also secures the hearing aid while preventing feedback whistling by blocking any sound leakage.
For the earmold to work as intended, it needs to be clean, unbroken, and soft.
How Often Should You Clean Your Earmold?
According to audiologists, cleaning your earmold twice a week will give you an extended life on your device. However, when you care for your earmold, make sure you follow the proper steps before damaging the device prematurely.
Cleaning Supplies You Need
For a comprehensive earmold cleaning, you will need:
- A small soft bristle brush
- An audio wipe can be dry or relatively damp
- Warm water
- Air Dryer
- Absorbent piece of cloth
- Non-alcoholic disinfectant
Steps for Cleaning Your Earmold
With all the supplies gathered, gently remove the earmold from the ear, turn the volume down, and get started. So, let’s learn how to clean a hearing aid earmold:
Before wearing your hearing aid every it is important you inspect and clean it when possible. The daily care routine for your earmold involves:
- Wiping it down with a soft cloth to wipe off any wax buildup
- Clean up any moisture left to avoid any damage to your hearing aid
- Detach the earmold and the tube from the hearing aid
- Rinse the earmold in some warm running water
- Using lukewarm water and soap, wash the earmold using the soft-bristled brush. Alternatively, you can use an effervescent solution and let it soak for about 10 minutes.
- Using a non-alcoholic disinfectant, wipe the surface of the earmold to remove all germs.
- Carefully dry the earmold using an air blower.
- Allow the earmold and the tube to dry overnight, with the sound outlet facing down.
- Reattaching it to the hearing aid in the morning
DISCLAIMER: DO NOT insert sharp objects such as toothpicks and pipe cleaners into the earmold. Also, avoid using cotton buds to clean the wax buildup in the earmold. Any small crack or tear in the tube will result in total damage to your hearing assist device.
Things to Avoid When Cleaning Your Earmold
There are many guides on how to clean your hearing aid earmold. But some are misleading and could result in a damaged device. So, to avoid any damage, ensure you avoid practices like:
- Placing your earmold on a radiator to dry, as this could melt it
- Blowing into the tube as your breath contains a considerable amount of moisture
- Cleaning your earmold with the hearing aid still attached-it is not water-friendly
Why Does Wax Buildup in Your Ears Anyway?
Did you know that the ear is a self-cleaning organ and that ear wax serves to protect your ear canal from bacteria, fungi, and insects? As most people do not know, ear wax is a natural lubricant for your ear and assists in cleaning it too.
The right amount of wax in your ears is good, but any buildup is counterproductive. Ear wax comes from cerumen glands located across your ear canal. The ear wax then dries up and pushes to the outer ear, where it falls, or you remove it with cotton swabs.
When you fail to remove the ear wax correctly, say by sticking your fingers into your ear or cotton buds, you could end up with stuck ear wax, which causes a plug.
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The Benefits of Cleaning Hearing Aid Earmold
- You get to remove dirt, dust, and earwax buildup that could block the sound holes.
- Cleaning your earmold is essential for the hearing aid to work as intended
- Proper cleaning of your earmold protects your ear from contracting diseases from the potentially infectious materials and body fluids
Even the best hearing aids require regular cleaning to work properly. And with the smart guide above on how to clean a hearing aid earmold, you can do so daily or weekly at home without damaging your device. In a few simple steps, you get to remove debris and disinfect the earmold, thus keeping your ear safe from germs and getting optimal performance from your hearing aid.